Cementing and covering of storm water drains have repeatedly been blamed for flooding in the Capital every time it rains. But despite protests by residents and warnings from experts, the public works department of the Delhi government continues to carry out such activities.
In Sarvodaya Enclave in south Delhi, two such drains on both sides of a road from Mother’s International School towards Begumpur are being narrowed, cemented and covered.
“The superintending engineer said work should be stopped but his supervisor and contractor refused to follow him, saying workers had been paid. They said they would suffer losses if work is stopped,” said a resident.
Residents petitioned principal secretary (PWD) Arun Baroka, who promised action. But work continues.
“It’s necessary to allow water to seep through bricks and not cover and cement the drains. After all, they are clogged at various places,” he said.
The PWD is rebuilding the old drains by narrowing walls with another layer of bricks. The base is also being raised with concrete. These drains are primarily built to drain out excess water during rain. Drains laid with bricks and not cement at the base also ensure groundwater recharge.
The PWD justified its action. “Some residents allow sewage to flow into rainwater drains, which makes it very difficult for workers to clean them. By cementing the drains, cleaning is easier,” said a PWD official.
Manoj Misra of NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan requested Delhi’s Lt. Governor to stop covering of such drains.